We haven’t had much to cheer about this season…we fans of the SLU Men’s Basketball Billikens. Just three seasons removed from a conference championship, our guys have become the bottom-feeders in the Atlantic 10.
Adding insult to injury, the university’s athletic department ‘re-designed’ the team’s mascot this season—turning our beloved Billiken into something that was borderline demonic.
Last night though there was redemption of sorts.
The plucky but undermanned Billikens managed a win against U-Mass. Better yet, the school unveiled a new ‘new’ Billiken mascot – still a little harsh and angular for my tastes, but a significant improvement over the one trotted out a few months ago. (It reportedly had driven some toddlers to tears.)
I’m delighted by the reversal of fortune, on both counts. I discovered that it’s as much fun to witness a Billiken win as it’s ever been—even though there’s almost no chance we’ll come out on top at the season’s end. And as for the new ‘new Billiken,’ I guess it’s just in my nature to forgive well-intentioned mistakes.
Admittedly, though, the stakes are very low when it comes to mascots and sports marketing.
The same can’t be said for some of the political choices we make. That’s what occurred to me when I heard yesterday about the initial steps taken to build ‘The Wall.’
Frankly, it caught me a bit by surprise – that any politician would actually attempt to follow through on such a preposterous campaign promise.
After working my way through the surprise, I realized that a profound sense of sadness had taken its place.
‘We are a better, more generous nation than this,’ I thought. ‘We are a better people than this.’
‘The Wall’ is nothing like an acceptable answer. And we definitely need a do-over…if we’re inclined to think ‘The Wall’ will make our country a better place to live.
Not convinced? Then I encourage you to spend a little time with this video, and see if you don’t find Father James Martin’s message persuasive.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.